A Hybrid Unmanned Ground Vehicle Is Developed for the ArmyDan Heilman | October 03, 2016
Estonian military engineering company Milrem and Massachusetts-based QinetiQ North America launched Titan, which they say is a "fully modular, hybrid" unmanned ground vehicle (UGV) that complies with the initial requirements in the U.S. Army’s Squad Multipurpose Equipment Transport (SMET) Initiative. The companies say the machine will increase soldier safety while reducing troops’ workload.
The vehicle combines Milrem’s THeMIS (Tracked Hybrid Modular Infantry System), a modular hybrid unmanned ground vehicle made for military applications, with QinetiQ’s robotic control technology, called the TRC (Tactical Robot Controller), and RAK (Robotic Appliqué Kit). Titan can assist and replace soldiers on the battlefield to perform complex and hazardous tasks.
The U.S. Army has been teaming with private industrial providers to develop and test early prototypes of SMET autonomous vehicles. The vehicles under development must: be able to haul a squad of soldier gear and keep up for a typical 72-hour patrol; have enough power to charge additional devices; be capable of fitting in the back of a helicopter or slung below; and be able to carry an array of sensors and weaponry to defend itself.
Unlike existing UGVs, the developers say that Titan is a "highly modular platform" that allows different superstructures to be mounted and integrated onto the middle vehicular platform for missions such as rescue, transport, combat, and reconnaissance. The manufacturers say the system not only increases efficiency, but also reduces soldier and operator workload, and lowers total system costs.
The vehicle also is said to provide high load carrying capability and off-road mobility, including a diesel/electric hybrid engine with run-silent mode and squad auxiliary power. It can be operated in unmanned or manned modes.